Wednesday, October 13

Tall Pine - Bass Lake, California

"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree...."
-Joyce Kilmer - Trees

One of my favorite scenes in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is when the Hobbits discover "Treebeard", the leader of the ancient tree-creatures that protected the forests at the foot of the Misty Mountains. Throughout author R.R. Tolkien's series, the forests represented mystery, protection and life itself. They were fearful places to strangers and havens to the elves who lived nearby. Trees are magical and magnificent in Tolkein's story and in Peter Jackson's movie too.

The movie becomes dark and angry when we see Sauren's minions stipping their corner of Middle Earth of trees to feed the furnaces that make their weapons. Destruction of the forests seemed to signal the beginning of the conflict to come. Isn't it always a tip off that the world is out of whack when the forests begin to die?

I recall my parents comments about their trip to Ireland. They loved the people, the greenery, the lovely buildings, the wild beaches and ocean scenes, but missed trees. Apparently, the British allowed and/or encouraged deforestation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century which caused widespread poverty and death. No trees, the earth erodes and becomes infertile, and there is no fuel or building materials and the people die.

Wangari Maathai, this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a genius with trees. An astounding 30 million trees have been planted because of her simple idea: encourage village women to plant trees. These women were then able to renew the fuel they use, stop soil erosion and cultivate kitchen gardens. This is the essence of the Green Belt Movement she created. She and her village women bypass repression, conflict, politics, and the cycle of death by focusing on creating life. Creating and nurturing life is what peace on earth is all about. The idea that everyone and anyone has the power to do this is what true liberty and freedom are all about.

Power to all creative people!